The History of the Mackay Historical Society

The formation of the Mackay Historical Society came from the foresight of one man Mr. John Renton of Walkerston who decided to convene a meeting of interested persons with a view of creating a historical society to preserve and promote the wealth of history in the Mackay district.

The inaugural meeting was held on Thursday 10th August 1972 at 7.45pm at the Australian Sugar Producers Association boardroom in Wood Street, Mackay.  Present at the inaugural meeting were Mesdames B. Wright, N. Smith, I. Renton, J. Smith, W. Manning, R. Collins and Messrs. N.H. Smith, H. Goode, G. MacDonald, J.H. Williams, F. Rolleston, R. Manning and J. Renton.

The inaugural Committee Officers of the Society were G. MacDonald (President), J.H. Williams (Vice President), K.J. Renton (Honorary Secretary), Mrs. B. Wright (Treasurer).  Mr Thomas A. Cook of Greenmount Homestead was nominated to be the Societies first Patron of which he accepted and held the position until his passing in November 1981.  A decision was moved to call the Society the "Mackay Historical Society".

The Patron Mr. Cook attended the second meeting of the Society held on 14th September 1972 and "kindly allowed the Society the use of the Block of the Fig Tree planted by Captain Mackay at Greenmount (now Greenknoll) between 11 January 1862 and 31 July 1862."  This block of the tree has been included as the logo of the Mackay Historical Society ever since.

In 1974 the Society led by Mrs Berenice Wright was instrumental in helping to save the Old Mackay Hall from destruction to be kept for the community.

In 1981 The Society's Patron Mr. Thomas Cook passed away.  Following his death his widow Mrs. Dorothy Cook arranged to bequeath "Greenmount Homestead" to the community of Mackay as a homestead museum.  The grounds were handed to the Pioneer Shire Council and the contents to the Mackay Historical Society with the Society to manage the homestead as a local history museum for the people of Mackay.   Greenmount Homestead was opened to the public on 1st September 1984.

The Society undertook its first strategic plan in 1995 to seek the direction of where the Society and Greenmount were heading.  It was apparent that there was a need to preserve the Homestead and its collection but this required more resources than the Society could muster.

A Greenmount Management Committee was formed in 1997 consisting of a partnership between the Society, Mackay City Council, Qld Department of Environment and Heritage and the National Trust. This committee was successful in obtaining a grant of $838,000 to restore Greenmount Homestead and preserve the collection.  However as a result of this it was evident the Society would have to move its own collection to a location closer to the City and be a separate entity to the Homestead.

The Society relinquished direct day to day management of Greenmount Homestead to the Mackay City Council in October 2001.

Since the move from Greenmount Homestead, the society's archives and collection were in storage till a shed was built on a site in Casey Avenue in South Mackay.  The old single man's quarters originally from Marian Mill was moved from the grounds of Greenmount Homestead to the present address in Casey Avenue for the society to use as a museum. With the complete refurbishment of the old building, the members have for 18 months prepared the collection including cataloguing and preservation in readiness for the opening of our new museum in April 2004.  Stage 2 of the complex in Casey Avenue will see Mackay's first genuine museum devoted to the collection and interpretation of Mackay's rich history.


Past and Present Committee members of the Society

Past Patrons

1972-Nov 1981 - Mr. Thomas Albert (Tom) Cook
1982-1992 - Mr. Ian Alexander Christie Wood
1986-1987 - Mr. Barry Porter (Joint Patron)
1992-1997 - Mr. Ray Braithwaite
1997 Position Abolished

Past Presidents

1972-1974 - Mr Graham MacDonald
1974-1975 - Mr John H. (Jack) Williams
1975-1980 - Mrs Berenice D. Wright
1980-1985 - Mr Guilio Gargano
1985-May 1988 - Mr K.J. (John) Renton
May 1988-1990 - Mr. Phill Martin
1990-Apr 1995 - Mr. Wayne Miller
May 1995 -         - Mr. Phill Martin

Past Vice-Presidents

1972-1974 - Mr. John H. (Jack) Williams
1974-1977 - Mr. Frank Rolleston
1977-1980 - Mr. Guilio Gargano
1980-1981 - Mr. Frank Rolleston
1981-1982 - Mr. Viv Shepherd
1982-1984 - Mr. Frank Rolleston
1984-1985 - Mr. John Renton
1985-May 1988 - Mr. Phill Martin
May 1988-1988 - Mrs. Enid Schmidtke
1988-1990 - Mr. Wayne Miller
1990-May 1995 - Mr. Phill Martin
May 1995-1995 - Mr. Glen Hall
1995-1996 - Mr. Graham Harvey (Senior Vice-President)
1995-1996 - Mrs. Margaret Berry (Junior Vice-President)
1996-1997 - Mr. Dale Murray
1997-2004 - Mrs. Margaret Berry 
2004-          - Mr. Syd Norman  

Past Honorary Secretaries

1972-1980 - Mr. K.J. (John) Renton
1980-1982 - Mrs. Berenice D. Wright
1982-1983 - Mr. Viv. Shepherd
1983-1985 - Mr. Phill Martin
1985-1986 - Mrs. Joyce Johnson
1986-1990 - Mrs. Lyn Gargano
1990-1994 - Miss Margaret Tyerman
1994-1995 - Mr. Dale Murray
1995-1996 - Mr. Glen Hall
1996-1998 - Mrs. Enid Schmidtke
1998-          - Miss Margaret Tyerman

Past Treasurers

1972-1975 - Mrs Berenice D. Wright
1975-1976 - Miss Phyllis Lewis
1976-1980 - Mrs. Lyn Gargano
1980-1984 - Mr. K.J. (John) Renton
1984-1985 - Mr. R. Shaw
1985-1986 - Mr. Jim Clark
1986-1990 - Mrs. Helen Martin
1990-1991 - Mr. Jim Clark
1991-          - Mrs. Helen Martin

Past Publicity Officers

    Public Relations Officer
    1975-1976 - Mr J.H.(Jack) Williams
    Publicity Officer
    1976-1977 - Mr R. (Bob) Catto, Mrs. Bailey
    1977- April 1978 - Miss Nita Gutteridge (latterly Mrs. Nita Schipke)
    1977-1978 - Mrs. V. Malan (Assistant)
    April 1978 - 1978 - Mr Frank Rolleston
    1978-1979 - Mr. Viv Shepherd
    Press Officer 
    1980-1981 - Mr Frank Rolleston
    Publicity Officer
    1981-1982 - Mr Frank Rolleston
    1983-1989 - Mrs. Betty Clark
    1989-1993 - Mrs. Margaret Berry
    1993-1994 - Mrs. Pat. Russell
    1994-Feb 1995 - Mrs. Sandy Birrer
    Feb 1995-Mar 1998 - Mr. Glen Hall
    1998-1999 - Mrs. Rose Noonan
    1999-2000 - Mrs. Enid Schmidtke
    2000-2001 - Mr. Glen Hall
    2001-2002 - Mr. Robert Birch
    2002-2004 - Mrs. Enid Schmidtke
    2003-2004 - Ms. Bente McDonald (Assistant)
    2004-          - Mr. Glen Hall

Past Honorary Librarians

1984-1985 - L. Shaw

Past Research Officers

1985-Oct 1996 - Mrs. Betty Clark
Nov 1996-1998 - Mrs. Jan Winton
1998-2002 -  Mrs. Kathy Wellby
2002-2003 - Mrs. Janet Norman
2003-          - Mr. Glen Hall

Past Society Photographers

1985-1987 - Mr. Jim Clark

Past Assistant Secretaries

1986-1988 - Miss Margaret Tyerman

Past Chairperson/ Duties Manager/ Liaison Officer  of Greenmount Homestead

1990-           - Miss Gloria Arrow

Past Building/Maintenance Officers

      Building Officer
      1991-1994 - Mr. Dale Murray
      1995-1996 - Mr. Dale Murray
      Maintenance Officer
      1996-2002 - Mr. Graham Harvey
      2002-          - Mr. Sid Norman

Past Committee Members

1994-1995 - Mr. Graham Harvey
1995-1996 - Mrs. Shirley Duncan-Kemp

Past Minute Secretaries

Apr 1996-1996 - Mrs. Margaret Berry

Past Registrars

1996-Mar 1998 - Mr. Glen Hall
2003-                  - Mrs. Janet Norman

Storage and Conservation Officer

2001-                - Mr. Dale Murray

Mackay Historical Society and Museum Incorporated 2001-2011.
created 01 March 2003.
last updated 29 December 2011 .
Site maintained by
Glen Hall